To say South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has had a bad year would be an understatement. First there was all the hullabaloo regarding his father’s day weekend “hike on the Appalachian trail,” which turned out to be a trip to Argentina to visit his mistress, and now comes word Gov. Sanford may have broken South Carolina state law when he charged taxpayers for more expensive business and first-class flights. South Carolina State Sen. David Thomas, whose budget committee investigated Gov. Sanford’s flights, sent evidence to Senate leaders Monday arguing the Republican governor violated state laws requiring the cheapest travel possible. Gov. Sanford’s more expensive flights on two state Commerce Department trips cost taxpayers $13,700 more than the economy class flights available.
While Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle may have violated the state’s travel policy regarding providing receipts for travel, meals, and hotel stays, at least no one’s arguing he broke state law, as in the case of Gov. Sanford.
The story of Gov. Sanford’s expensive travel habits, as well as Gov. Doyle’s failure to properly account for his own travel, only serves to underscore how easy it is for elected officials from both parties to abuse the system, and it leaves me wondering if more stringent oversight might be in order.